by Terry Pratchett
I've read four novels by Terry Pratchett and thoroughly enjoyed each one. This year I've set a goal to read more books Pratchett. His work is creative, contemplative, humorous and often includes a touch of mystery. Pratchett has had 22 consecutive best sellers. Quite remarkable. He's most famous for his sci fi tales about Discworld. My favorite to date is Mork, followed by his YA series featuring Tiffany Aching.
Only You Can Save Mankind is the first in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. It's written for the 5-8 grade audience. If you have a son in that age group, this may be one he'd enjoy. Girls, too; but I was thinking of a boy who wasn't that into reading.
Johnny is called to from the darkness of a space alien computer game. The ScreeWees are all be killed off and they want to surrender and have safe conduct back to their home planet. Safe conduct is promised to prisoners under the international rules of war.
With my recent read of Ender's Game still fresh in my mind, I thought the idea smacked of Ender and his computer games. This book is much gentler and does veer from Ender's Game quite a bit. Much better book for younger readers.
Johnny runs with a mismatched group of dweebs, nerds and other social outcasts. Here's Johnny's description of one of his friend with the nickname Wobler. "He wobbled. It was glandular, he said. He wobbled especially when he ran. Bits of Wobbler headed in various directions: it was only on average that he was running in any particular direction." Can't you just picture it?!
I don't suggest you run out and buy this one. It was a fun book and it was nice to have something simpler to read when I needed to take a break from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. (I may never finish that one!)